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Exclusive: Morgan O’Kane talks participating in the 2014 Made for Music campaign

As a continuation of their Made for Music global campaign, which launched last year with Jay Z and Rihanna, Budweiser unveiled their Made Underground content series chronicling Jamie N Commons and X Ambassadors’ search around the world to create the ultimate band of street performers from NYC, London, Rio De Janeiro and Philadelphia. The hand-picked “busker” ensemble will come together to re-record the artists’ hit single “Jungle” with producer Alex Da Kid and then perform it at this year’s Budweiser Made in America Festival on Labor Day Weekend. On Aug. 13, 2014 we had the opportunity to speak withe one of these lucky artists. Morgan O'Kane was selected as the best street musician in New York. Watch the video on how he was discovered. Read our exclusive interview with New York busker, Morgan O’Kane below:

X Ambassadors’ Sam Harris and collaborator Jamie N. Commons are searching the world for talented buskers to remix their hit single “Jungle” and perform at the Budweiser Made in America music festival. They found Morgan O’Kane (pictured) In NYC.
Photo courtesy of Budweiser, used with permission

What has the journey been like from the start of your music career till now?

About five years ago I took a huge leap of faith wanted to see what would happen if I only played music for a living, busking, gigging, and touring. It certainly hasn't been easy but it's an amazing feeling to get out and do what you love every day. I’ve met some pretty amazing people along the way and have traveled over the world, all thanks to music.

What has been your greatest memory that you’ve had while being a street performer?

It's all the people I’ve met and the ones that let me know how much I help them. It keeps me going back out. I was told once that there is someone always listening.

Can you speak about what it’s like to be picked up by Jaime, the X Ambassadors, and Alex to record and perform the new version of “Jungle”?

It feels pretty good to have been picked out of all the street performers in NYC. We have some of the best musicians in the world out on the streets here.

I'm always playing my songs. I look forward to get the chance to put my mark on someone else's. They seem like great guys to work with, and remember me from my first days of busking at the Bedford L.

What gravitated you towards learning to play the banjo out of all the other instruments out there?

A man by the name of Bobby St. Hours played a song called box of pine for me about ten years ago and it changed my life. The banjo seemed to be channeling all this energy. It's exactly what I needed, I just had to learn how to play. Then I met Phillip Roebuck.

What do you draw inspiration from when creating your music?

Usually whatever is going on in my life at that moment. I write music as medicine for my own personal mental health at first and if it can get me out of bed in morning then I'm sure it can help someone else.

How has music influenced your own life?

As much as it has helped create life and love and inspiration in my life it has also been a hard road and has taken from me the same love and people it's manifested along the way. As in anything in life there are ups and downs, it's what you make of it that matters.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

Don't ever stop and never forget why it makes you happy.

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